Ravens say message about Reed wrong

Ravens say message about Reed wrong
April 6, 2013, 3:45 pm

It was one line slipped into the middle of a notebook column. But like a pebble dropped into still water, it sent out a bigger message.

Writing in The Sun this week, Mike Preston said this about Ed Reed’s free-agent signing with the Texans: “It was interesting to see how the national media made it seem like the Ravens were in a bidding war with Houston for former safety Ed Reed. The Ravens made it appear that way out of respect for Reed, and it certainly put more money in Reed's pocket. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted Reed back as much as he wants a root canal.”

Pro Football Talk and other national sites spread the word across the Internet. Harbaugh didn’t like Reed and wanted him gone.

The Ravens vice president for public relations, Kevin Byrne, took great umbrage at what Preston wrote and made the unusual step of responding directly in the weekly piece he writes for BaltimoreRavens.com. (Though Byrne did not mention Preston or his newspaper or link to the original column.)

“The writer didn't say that this was his opinion. He wrote it as a fact — as if he had talked to Harbs at some point and that our head coach had indicated that to him. Well, that didn't happen. Fact is the sentence in no way reflected John's feelings about the future Hall of Famer Reed.”

You can argue whether Preston’s item was written “as a fact.” It was, after all, a column, so you can also assume that much of what’s contained therein is his opinion. The item didn’t read that Harbaugh said he wanted Reed back as much as he wanted dental surgery. That’s the reading of the situation by Preston, who’s regularly around the team.

But maybe that’s too nuanced an interpretation, and, in the end, may not even matter. The word went out — that pebble in the water — and Byrne is, in his word, “pissed.” So Byrne dropped his own pebble.

“Ed Reed deserves better. So does John Harbaugh. The line was inconsiderate, offensive and not the truth,” Byrne wrote.

We’ll see how many ripples Byrne’s pebble gets — Pro Football Talk did an item — but it can be tough to counter when someone else already has made waves.